Rookie Matt Sanders Wins PBA Xtra Frame Billy Hardwick Memorial Open for First PBA Title

by Bill Vint, Professional Bowlers Association 0

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (Sunday, June 25) – Matt Sanders, a 23-year-old rookie from Evansville, Ind., bowling in his third national tournament as a member, defeated Brian LeClair of Delmar, N.Y., 243-237, to win the Professional Bowlers Association’s Xtra Frame Billy Hardwick Memorial Open presented by Chris Hardwick at Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes.

Sanders, who had his best PBA finish a week ago when he lost to Craig Nidiffer of Trenton, Mich., 279-268, in the PBA Greater Marion Central Open title match in Marion, Ohio. The former two-time All-American with Marion University-Indiana earned $10,000 – enough to finance his tour activities for the rest of the 2017 season – along with his first title.

“That was my first plastic ball tournament so, so far so good,” he said with a smile. “I had an okay day in qualifying, but I think I figured the lanes out going into today and today I got locked in.

“I was extremely nervous before we started the title match, but I told myself I’ve done this a few times before, so after we got started, there was no reason to be nervous. I wanted to win.”

The loss was another disappointment for LeClair, a 33-year PBA member who has not won a PBA Tour title in 434 events. The 52-year-old has won three times since joining the PBA50 Tour in 2015, but it hurt to have this one slip through his fingers.

“This may have been my last shot at a ‘junior tour’ title,” LeClair said. “Bowling on the senior tour is the same in a lot of ways as it was earlier in my career. My life is a lot more stable, which helps, but it would be nice to have that one missing title.”

Sanders earned his trip to the title match with a 253-223 victory over fellow rookie Francois Louw of South Africa. In his previous three-game total pinfall matches, Sanders eliminated top qualifier Kris Prather of Plainfield, Ill., 707-679; rookie Zulmazran Zulkifli of Malaysia, 632-602, and Trevor Roberts of Crystal River, Fla., 683-675.

LeClair advanced to the title match with a 237-236 victory over Chris Barnes of Double Oak, Texas, when Barnes’ rally ended with a 4 pin on his first shot in the 10th frame. In his two preliminary matches, LeClair defeated Cody Shoemaker of Hanover, Pa., 656-584, and amateur Wesley Low Jr. of Palmdale, Calif., 641-624.

Next up on PBA’s Xtra Frame live streaming service is a special pay-per-view ($2.99) King of Bowling challenge match Monday starting at 7:40 p.m. EDT when reigning KOB Wes Malott of Pflugerville, Texas, will meet challenger Tommy Jones of Simpsonville, S.C., in a best-of-three-game match. To sign up for the special event, use this link:!liveevent?EV_pid=3794.

Following the King of Bowling match, Xtra Frame will provide live coverage of the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort Oklahoma Open qualifying rounds Tuesday through Friday, leading up to ESPN’s coverage of the unique Oklahoma Open nine-player stepladder finals Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT both days. ESPN2 and the WatchESPN app will also provide simultaneous live streaming coverage.

The PBA Xtra Frame Tour’s next event will be the XF Striking Against Breast Cancer Mixed Doubles from Copperfield Bowl in Houston, Texas, July 28-30, which will award PBA and PWBA Tour titles.

For Xtra Frame subscriptions, visit Subscription packages are available for three days ($2.99), 30 days ($7.99) and a full year (about $1.25 a week).


presented by Chris Hardwick

Billy Hardwick’s All Star Lanes, Memphis, Tenn., Sunday


Matt Sanders, Evansville, Ind. ($10,000) def. Brian LeClair, Delmar, N.Y. ($5,500), 243-237.

Semifinal Round (losers earned $2,500):

Sanders def. Francois Louw, South Africa, 253-223.
LeClair def. Chris Barnes, Double Oak, Texas, 237-236.

Round Three (qualifiers 1-4 vs. Round Two winners; three games total pinfall, losers earned $1,350):

Sanders def. Kris Prather, Plainfield, Ill., 707-679.
Barnes def. Dick Allen, Columbia, S.C., 662-657.
LeClair def. Cody Shoemaker, Hanover, Pa., 656-584.
Louw def. Mike Wolfe, New Albany, Ind., 629-525.

Round Two (qualifiers 5-8 vs. Round One winners; three games total pinfall, losers earned $1,150):

Sanders def. Zulmazran Zulkifli, Malaysia, 632-602.
Allen def. Kim Bolleby, Thailand, 714-675.
LeClair def. n-Wesley Low Jr., Palmdale, Calif., 641-624.
Louw def. Jason Couch, Clermont, Fla., 669-598.

Round One: (qualifiers 9-16, three games total pinfall, losers earned $1,000):

Sanders def. Trevor Roberts, Crystal River, Fla., 683-675.

Bolleby def. Sam Cooley, Australia, 716-680.

Low def. Jeff Evans, Supply, N.C., 685-596.

Couch def. Kyle Troup, Taylorsville, N.C., 645-634.

Cashers Round Standings (after 12 games; top 16 advanced to match play):

1, Prather, 2,754.
2, Barnes, 2,697.
3, Shoemaker, 2,670.
4, Wolfe, 2,660.
5, Louw, 2,654.
6 Itie), LeClair and Allen, 2,652.
8, Zulkifli, 2,648.
9, Sanders, 2,645.
10, Cooley, 2,643.
11, Low, 2,617.
12, Troup, 2,581.
13, Couch, 2,580.
14, Evans, 2,561.
15, Bolleby, 2,554.
16, Roberts, 2,552.

Other Cashers (after 12 games):

17, n-Mykel Holliman, Collierville, Tenn., 2,539, $650.
18, Isaac Kim, Lebanon, Pa., 2,534, $650.
19, AJ Chapman, Wichita, Kan., 2,522, $650.
20, n-Tommy Berish III, Cordova, Tenn., 2,492, $625.
21, Chris Loschetter, Avon, Ohio, 2,478, $625.
22, Ryan Ciminelli, Cheektowaga, N.Y., 2,473, $625.
23, Johnathan Bower, Middletown, Pa., 2,469, $600.
24, Tom Daugherty, Riverview, Fla., 2,432, $600.

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